Zoom fatigue – what is it, and is it the same as Screen fatigue?

Zoom fatigue is NOT screen fatigue but adjusting for zoom fatigue will help with screen fatigue.

Yes, we are now fighting digital eye strain on several fronts, but zoom fatigue is more to do with how anxiety-inducing watching other’s faces can be.

Stanford University conducted a  study and found 4 things that they believe are the causes of zoom fatigue.  In the article, they give solutions as to what you can do about it, but essentially it boils down to – turn off your camera.

Zoom meetings cause you to be close up to someone’s face, often many faces in a confined space, which is not natural.

The only time you would do this in ‘real life’ would be in a rugby scrum, a group hug, or hiding in a fort with your friends.

It’s this close up, zoomed-in images of faces they feel triggers the anxiety of public speaking, alongside … wait for it …triggering primal instincts of fighting or mating because the zoom call is that intense for our reptilian brains.

Top tip no 1 then is to reduce the size of the faces, and not be on speaker view. Instead switch to gallery mode if there are more than a couple of participants.

 

Reflection
Seeing your own reflection

 

Seeing yourself on zoom is unsettling, (let’s face it, zoom is not flattering) and this increase our negative self-talk, which increases our anxiety.

How many of you have been unnerved at your appearance on zoom, because that’s not how you looked in the mirror 5 minutes ago?

The solution is to right-click on your image once you are on the call and hide the self-view.

Try it, it’s very relaxing and only takes a few minutes to get used to.

 

Next point: We move a fair amount when we are chatting face to face, we gesticulate, and we look away a lot more.

When on zoom we continuously look at the faces, we don’t look away, and this is unnatural, plus, it increases cognitive load, which means your brain has to work harder, it burns more calories and you become tired quicker.

The solution is to either have an audio call only or turn the camera off every now and then.

One writer suggests having the camera further away from you, so you can look at things on your desk and doodle – exactly the same way we do in a face-to-face group meeting.

The cognitive load increases on zoom because the non-verbal’s are not as obvious.
Non-verbal’s, according to verywellmind.com include facial expressions, gestures, paralinguistics such as loudness or tone of voice, body language, personal space, eye gaze, touch, appearance, and artefacts.

Nonverbal communication amounts to between 70-93% of communication.

When we are online, over zoom or another video conferencing app, we have to exaggerate our nonverbal communication, which makes the brain and body work harder, so the solution here is… you guessed it – have an audio call only.

Turn the camera off.

What about the introverts? Are they loving this?

Nope. They are screaming internally and are becoming well and truly frazzled, but that’s another conversation that will involve exercise, mindfulness and yes, you guessed it – turning off the camera. (There is a link to an article for introverts at the end of this post)

 

So how does tackling zoom fatigue help with screen fatigue?

Turning the camera off allows you to look away from the screen – it allows your eyes to rest and relax. (Remember, screen fatigue is due to the eye muscles overworking.)

Screening for the risk of screen fatigue is as important as accepting the degree of stress associated with public speaking from your platform at home, as both are problematic when working online.

Being on zoom triggers anxiety. Screen fatigue also triggers anxiety, so this taking back control of your environment will allow you to reduce the anxiety.
Turning off the screen lets you move around, reducing the musculoskeletal issues we all get being glued to a screen, and finally, it allows you to stop pretending.

Screen fatigue and zoom fatigue both make you tired – hence the word fatigue. But when we are forced to stare at a screen for hours on end, with no decent break, our productivity drops, and we fall into what is called presenteeism – basically being at the desk pretending to work to avoid punishment, but we are not actually working.

In conclusion:

Zoom fatigue and screen fatigue are in the same ‘family’, as they both cause eyes strain and anxiety, but like siblings, they are not the same.

What is similar, is whether zooming or working on-screen, the display screen is just as close-up, requiring sustained convergence and accommodation ( focusing to you and me), but, with zoom, it’s larger objects to focus on, rather than the small text symbols that require serious visual stamina to continue making serial, sequential searches, fixations and saccads (again, more words that mean to focus and re-focus) when reading.

Turn the screen off.  Rest your eyes, and don’t forget our patented software can help reduce screen fatigue.

Having the optimised coloured background for your screen is not only soothing for your eyes, it means you won’t need to fake it as much, and you’ll be far less anxious.

 

Further Reading:
Nonverbal Overload: A Theoretical Argument for the Causes of Zoom Fatigue

How Zoom is Combating Zoom Fatigue

Zoom Fatigue Is Real — Especially For Introverts: 6 Ways To Recharge

Do screens really damage your eyes?

The short answer is yes.

But there are reasons behind this, and it doesn’t have to be yes if you understand how they damage your eyes, and what you can do to avoid that damage.

 

But first, let’s talk about blue light because it’s very relevant here.

Digital screens emit blue light.  According to UPMC, a medical health care agency in the USA, Digital devices release blue light, which can reach the inner lining of the back of your eye (retina). Studies show that blue light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This can lead to early age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of eyesight.”

Let’s unpack this.

White light/daylight is made up of all the colours of the rainbow, and this includes blue light. According to studies, blue light has shorter wavelengths than the other colours, and as a result more energy.  This means the blue light has a higher frequency, so it travels faster and is, according to Science Direct – absorbed better.

How this then translates to your eyes is that it hits the retina faster and quicker than the other colours, is absorbed better, and as a result, it may prematurely age the eyes –   which is macular degeneration. The symptoms of this are tired, dry eyes, which can be a precursor to eye damage.

But we then need to look at blue light in relationship to children.

Because children are not outside playing in the daylight as much as is optimal, they are actually lacking blue light, and as such, some screen time may be beneficial, but plenty more research needs to be done in this area.

What we do know is that whether an adult or a child, blue light can disrupt the circadian rhythm, and if used late at night – under the covers in bed, digitals screens can and do disrupt sleep patterns.

This leads us to ask – is blue light really the culprit here in screen fatigue and eye damage, or is it the close-up, prolonged viewing of sub-optimally calibrated, back-lit, bright white background to the text, causing eye-muscle fatigue, plus an inability to sustain convergence and accommodation ( focusing)  for prolonged periods of time?

 

Whichever is the case, eyes are not meant for prolonged hours and days looking at a screen.

 

Eyes are designed to scan the horizon and look at the work that you are doing with your hands, about 20 cm away from your face, plus have the full coloured spectrum of light evenly distributed, not one colour laser-focused.

Here’s another little-known fact, our brains and eyes are not even designed for reading!

“We’ve only been doing it as a species for 6000 years,” says Snow. “Our brains have not evolved to read. It’s a biologically unnatural thing to do.”

 

What does this mean for our eyes?

When you are looking at a screen your eyes are working very hard to do something they have not evolved to do, and they are fighting against unnatural light – be that the blue light or the generic out of the box bright white light.

Our eyes don’t blink as much as they should when looking at a screen. (We should be blinking every 15-20 per minute, but this is cut in half when looking at a screen.)  This means your eyes are not being hydrated, which increases dry eyes.

Then add flashing colours, moving images, strange colour contrasts, all fairly close up if on your phone/tablet/laptop, moving slightly further away if looking at a pc or TV.

This close-up smorgasbord of everything eyes are not meant to do or deal with, overworks them. They constantly need to refocus, zoom in and out, and like any muscle, work it too hard and it gets tired. Together this causes screen fatigue, which long term can damage your eyesight.

Here’s an analogy:

Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his heyday – 1974

Body Building
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Bodybuilders do ‘set reps’ – a set number of exercises, then they rest.  professional body builders work out from 1 to 4 hours a day, targeting different muscles.  1-4 hours, that’s it!  They don’t spend 8-10 hours a day training one set of muscles.

They don’t work the same set of muscles day in day out.

Now consider that the average person is looking at a screen for 13 hours a day, and you realise our eyes work out more than Arnie ever did!

The only times we allow our eyes to rest is when we sleep.

What happens if you overwork muscles?

They become damaged.

Our eyes need to rest. They need time away from the screen.

Research is showing that screen fatigue – the cluster of symptoms from looking too long at a screen are not temporary.

The damage can become permanent.

How many of you are noticing a rapid deterioration with your eyesight, the longer you work with a screen?

But we often don’t know about something until we start to experience symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the following – tired eyes, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, headaches and or neck ache after looking at a screen, you need to take action.

We have a list of things you can do straight away to help mitigate the risks of screen fatigue, so do have a read, plus we have our colour contrast validation tool that can really help – sign up for it here. It only takes 15 minutes, and we are pretty confident you’ll notice an improvement.

Screens can damage your eyesight, but they don’t have to if you educate yourself and do things to mitigate the damage.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Kids Reading

Remove the main fear, disadvantage, anxiety, barrier, handicap, disability to reading for leisure, pleasure and, worst of all, school/work on-screen or otherwise…

…Go to original article

Screenshot of ww2.kqed.org

Simple’ssss

Remove the main fear, disadvantage, anxiety, barrier, handicap, disability to reading for leisure, pleasure and, worst of all, school/work on-screen or otherwise……
If text is easily and fluently accessible, then anyone is happy to read ? Continue reading “Getting Kids Reading”

The Hourglass

Silly me, of course, it has to be this way around when peddling austerity as, for sure, they will want to make money out of running a nudge campaign when few employers are going to actively volunteer for a fundamental change of mind-set or ethos in their management or governance.

…Go to original article

Still as relevant as ever?

Silly me, of course, it has to be this way around when peddling austerity as, for sure, they will want to make money out of running a nudge campaign when few employers are going to actively volunteer for a fundamental change of mind-set or ethos in their management or governance.

…Go to original article

Maintaining the status quo regardless of accepting the under the line costs of poor performance, productivity, presenteeism and Occupational Health preferable to “change”. The old “hair-shirt” principle of ‘it doesn’t matter how uncomfortable it’s familiar’ and same old, same ole mediocrity.

I knew the Hour-Glass Economy was going to see a downward spiral in everyone’s quality of life though deskilling the masses but, didn’t imagine the route to change would take this path although, hitting them in their pockets maybe the only way shift entrenched management what what ?

Is eyesight affected by computers?

Quora Answer to: Does eyesight get affected through the PC? My mother says it was not inherited from her…

…Go to original article

Screenshot of www.quora.com

Quora Answer to: Does eyesight get affected through the PC? My mother says it was not inherited from her as she only got bad eyesight from after my birth. Is computer usage one of the problems?

…Go to original article

Binocular Vision

How do you know if you are “stereoblind”, someone without perception of depth?

Often there are tell-tale signs from lazy-eye to eye-turns, blurred or double vision for those experiencing eye-strain leading to stress related loss of 3D vision…

…Go to original article

Screenshot of www.quora.com

How do you know if you are “stereoblind”, someone without perception of depth?

Often there are tell-tale signs from lazy-eye to eye-turns, blurred or double vision for those experiencing eye-strain leading to stress related loss of 3D vision…

…Go to original article